Mayor issues rules implementing plastic-free ordinance

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Thursday issued an administrative order laying down the rules and regulations to implement Ordinance No. 36 series of 2017 or the “Plastic and Styrofoam-Free Baguio City Ordinance” starting May, 2018.

Administrative Order No. 45-2018 spelled out the guidelines to be adopted in regulating the sale, use and distribution of plastic carry or shopping bags and Styrofoam in the city while the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) are still being drafted.

City Environment and Parks Management Office Assistant Department Head Ruben Cervantes, a member of the monitoring and oversight committee, said the draft IRR which defines the roles of the various stakeholders and the parameters of the implementation based on the provisions of the ordinance will be subjected to a writeshop and solutions forum with the various stakeholders on May 9 form 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baguio City Hall Multi-purpose Hall.

The output will later be presented to the City Council for approval.

In the mayor’s order, the rules on the distribution, sale and use of plastic bags and Styrofoam are:

*No business shall be allowed to distribute and sell “sando” bag or single use plastic bag/containers, thin, flexible, plastic films, or similar primary packaging plastic materials out of polyethylene, polypropylene including plastic drinking straws, plastic stirrers, and twine straws.
*In certain cases, e.g. factory or company packaged products; the use of primary packaging materials like single use, thin flexible plastic films for wet and dry items is allowed. Such use is considered in order to preserve and not to contaminate with Salmonella and other microorganism like processed poultry, livestock products, cold cuts, ice candy, munchies, TV party foods, fat snacks, chiblets, finger foods and other junk foods (chicheria)
*No business shall be allowed to distribute sell and use polystyrene/Styrofoam containers that will be used for goods or items purchased or serve food or drink, take out or dine in;
*The distribution, sale and use of polyethylene, polypropylene (PP) heavy duty, thick, microwave safe, recyclable, washable, reusable, manufactured containers through blow molding process, multi-use type of plastic bags, containers are allowed.
*The distribution, sale and use of Styrofoam is allowed only on ice chest and construction building materials but the disposal of it after its life, use or wastage/excesses shall be the responsibility of the user and there is no instance that it will be included in the household, market, institutional and commercial solid waste streams;
*The recommended alternative for Styrofoam as food containers and drinking vessel is the wax or aluminum coated boxes, cups, plates and drinking straws;
*The use of Oxo-biodegradable and “Bioplastics” or vegetable based plastics bags by some business establishments in the City shall not be allowed under this Ordinance and its IRR unless properly supported by laboratory findings and certification issued by the Department of Science and Technology(DOST) as to its degradation process and among others. The Environmental Technology Verification )ETV) code should be adequately marked on the batch of plastic products.
The responsibilities of the household and customers were also defined:
*Customers are encouraged to provide for themselves polyethylene, polypropylene reusable, recyclable, multi-use plastic bags and containers;
*Customers are encouraged to decline, reject checkout plastic wrappers/small plastic bags when buying dried small items from all sources like ball pen, CD, candy, and the like that do not require secondary packaging materials
*Customers are encouraged to leave the banned packaging materials and Styrofoam in the store or supplier where they bought the article/item/goods.
*Customers are encouraged not to procure condiments (patis, soy sauce, vinegar etc.) but rather opt for bulk buying of products where most of the products are contained in bottle, recyclable and mold blowing processed plastic container/vessel. If this is not possible due to economic constraint, they are encouraged to bring with them appropriate containers for such condiments and among others.
*Customers are encouraged not to procure toiletries (shampoo, hair gels, toothpaste, conditioners ,etc. and other beauty products in sachet, small packs/retail or “tingi” but rather opt for bulk buying of products where most of the products are contained in bottle, recyclable and mold blowing processed plastic container/vessel.
*Packaging and re-packing industries are encouraged to develop more environmentally –friendly containers as substitute for banned plastic and Styrofoam materials; and
*Parents are encouraged to use reusable and washable containers and utensils for the food/baon of their school children.
For solid waste collection and disposal, the following rules apply:
*The use of garbage bag, i.e. (colored or not) as garbage receptacle or container for solid waste materials is prohibited. However, a three-month grace period shall be given by the City to consume or use up all single use or non-recyclable, garbage bags in the household level.
*The compliance of every barangay to the Ordinance shall be considered as one parameter in the judging for best performing barangays in the City and among others
*The City General Services Office shall renew the arrangement with HOLCIM Philippines, Bacnotan Plant, La Union for the disposal of plastic materials as alternative fuel to co-process cement;
*To gauge the sustainable compliance of all concerned in the City relative to the Ordinance and its IRR, the Solid Waste Management Division of GSO shall conduct regular monitoring and recording of the estimated volume of banned plastics and styrofoams incorporated in the solid waste stream. This record shall formed part of the quarterly reports that will be submitted by the TF to the City Solid Waste Management Board and Oversight Committee under CO 35, 2017.
Under the order, a Task Force was created to enforce the rules to be led by the City General Services Office with the Liga ng Mga Barangay, City Treasurer’s Office, Business Permit and licensing Office, Community Affairs Office, City Mayor’s Office, Health Services Office, Public Order and Safety Division, City Mayor’s Office, Baguio City Police Office, the barangays and the Department of Education Baguio City Schools Division.
Each office will assign one regular representative and one alternate to join the Task Force on daily basis in the implementation, enforcement, monitoring and compliance of all stakeholders (residential, barangays, commercial, institutional, government offices, schools and others).

Each member will be trained and deputized to effect the arrest of violators and confiscate items.

Apart from enforcing the ordinance, the task force may also amend guidelines, rules, regulation and forms to implement the Ordinance, submit quarterly monitoring report to the Oversight Committee and to City Solid Waste Management Board, encourage awareness by undertaking information, education and communication drive, issue citation tickets to violators, conduct arrest of violators, confiscation of prohibited plastic materials and spearhead the conduct of training and other capacity building activities on would-be volunteers as force multipliers to implement the ordinance.

By: Aileen P. Refuerzo

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